Signs of Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) in Children
Children facing sensory processing disorder or SPD are not able to identify various sensory inputs. Let us take look at some of the common signs and symptoms of sensory processing disorder in children.
Sensory processing disorder (SPD) is a neurological condition in which the brain has trouble receiving and responding to information that comes in through the senses. SPD can happen to any person but is mostly identified in children. Children with SPD are unable to distinguish between the everyday sensory information like touch, movement and sound.
Brain and its Reaction to Inputs
The body parts and the outside world send inputs to the brain and nervous system. These can be sensations from vision, taste, hearing, smell, touch and movement. Based on these inputs the brain is organised to carry on functions such as muscle movement, coordination, memory, emotion, learning, thought and behaviour.
Thus, if a child faces SPD, it is believed that the child does not get precise information about themselves and the outside world as the brain does not process the sensations accurately. As a result, the child faces difficulty in learning things on a daily basis leading to stress that result in behavioural difficulties.
Behaviour of Children facing SPD
There are children who vary in how they react to the sensations they receive. Some are over-sensitive, some may be indifferent or under-responsive, and some may have motor problems. Read below to know the signs of such behaviour.
Symptoms of SPD in Children
Children with SPD may react differently. Here are a few reactions observed:
1. Over-sensitive Reactions
They may hate being touched by anyone around them and hate being hugged even by their own family members.
They avoid being in crowd and are generally afraid when people are in close proximity.
They cannot bear certain textures and may find it difficult to wear clothes that are made of rough fabric or with a tag in their clothes as they are over sensitive to touch.
They may not be able to bear loud or metallic sounds, like a siren from a car or ambulance, flushing toilets, vacuum cleaner, clinking utensils, etc. These can be any noise that may be inoffensive to others.
They may go to an extent that they get distracted and disturbed by background noises that others may not be able to hear.
They may hate being in a bright room or area.
They do not enjoy playing games or in the playground with swings or other play equipments.
They fear climbing or falling, even if their feet is little off the ground.
They may have extreme food disliking, such as intensely hating a particular fruit or vegetable.
They may not like the dirt in their hands and faces and may be very disturbed by this.
They may find difficulty in sleeping and may need excessive help for hours.
2. Under-Responsive Reactions
They are unaffected when they hear any sound or sense touch. They may not feel the pain even by the prick of a needle.
They starve for stimulations and may not be able to resist touching everything, such as they constantly need a touch, sniff or a taste.
They may be indifferent to even extreme cold or hot things.
They may often harm other children or pets around while playing, as they face difficulty in understanding their own strength.
3. Motor Problems
They may face difficulty in balancing themselves and go around spinning themselves frequently (motor problems).
They may also face difficulty in holding a pencil or riding a bicycle may seem just impossible for them.
They may even go the extent of banging their head.
They may have uncoordinated movements.
They may be very fidgety and not able to sit still in one place like other children.
Treatment for SPD
Families of children who face SPD often find it difficult to get help because SPD is not yet a recognised medical diagnosis. Yet, the therapists treat children with SPD by helping them do the activities that they are normally not able to do and helping them get used to things they are not able to tolerate. All of this is done in phases and it involves multiple sessions of play with the child and the parent. Each session may be designed for one child depending upon his or her needs.
Children facing SPD need to be handled very carefully by people who are in close contact with the child. They need to be given extra care so that they feel comfortable at the first place and not feel different from the outside world themselves. There are therapists who with the help of parents assist the child in dealing and understanding their sensory inputs and their reactions.
What is sensory processing disorder? How is sensory processing disorder or SPD identified in children? Is it possible to prevent sensory processing disorder or SPD in children? Discuss here.
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